SEASIDE - Mayor Don Larson delivered an upbeat message about Seaside's future at Thursday's Seaside Downtown Development Association meeting.

"I walk downtown almost every day and I talk to many people," he said. "They say the Prom looks good and Broadway never looked better. People are really impressed with this town."

Much of Larson's presentation focused on the city's efforts to keep city buildings repaired and "up to snuff."

The Seaside Convention and Civic Center sports a new heating and air conditioning system, a new roof and a mural on the building's southwest corner. Bids are now being made to replace the worn carpeting. The building next to the Sunset Pool, used for Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District's youth center, has been remodeled. Seaside Public Library's south wall was repaired after being damaged by dry rot and the Fire Station's bell tower roof was patched.

"The neat thing is that we're using local contractors who know what our coastal weather is like," Larson said. "They do a better repair job and it keeps dollars right here in Seaside."

He announced that Resource Assistant for Rural Environments Darci Conner would arrive in October. Conner is a University of Oregon graduate student who will inventory Seaside's parks and help the council develop a city park master plan. She will also study water needs and downtown parking.

Larson discussed the council's Memorandum of Understanding with the Oregon Department of Transportation for the Pacific Way-Dooley Bridge U.S. Highway 101 project. He stressed that the project will now proceed to the design phase only. He hopes ODOT and council members will agree on a design by spring 2004. He also addressed needed improvements on Holladay Drive from 12th Avenue to South Roosevelt Drive. It will cost about $1.4 million to improve the street, purchase right-of-way access and lay new water and sewer lines. If the highway ever reaches the construction phase and ODOT uses Holladay Drive as a detour route, the council will ask ODOT to shoulder some of the costs.

Outgoing SDDA President Keith Chandler was pleased with Larson's message. Chandler will hand the reins over to Pig 'N Pancake owner Wayne Poole in October.

"One of the things I think is really great about Don is that he's staying in touch with the public," he said. "I see him down here (near Broadway) all the time."

The SDDA will continue to work with the city on downtown issues, particularly the summer parking information officers and the traffic light at the Broadway Drive and Columbia Street intersection.

Other presentation topics included the Library Siting Committee's public survey, a council student representative, charter revision, 12th Avenue bridge construction and the Seaside Airport.


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